Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Typical Class Action (Score 1) 85

So I bought one, EIGHT years ago. I no longer have it. In order to prove that I'm even eligible for the mostly-pointless $9 payment, I have to have my PS3 serial number. For the higher payment, I have to have incredibly unreasonable proof that I used OtherOS functionality.

Insane, but not unexpected. That's the way the legal system works. The lawyers will get almost all the cash, and we'll still have given Sony full price for a then-crippled console.

Comment No. (Score 1) 1

If you read the referenced Genetics article, the following statement appears:

Weight loss is also associated with AD patients, despite the fact that AD
patients consume more calories than age-matched non-AD controls (reviewed in AZIZ et al.
2008), suggesting that AD patients may have altered metabolic rates (WANG et al. 2004). Our
results suggest that metabolic rate changes could be mediated by secreted sAPP, which alters
hormonal and insulin signaling pathways.

This actually seems to suggest that AD patients with the a mutated form of the soluble APP may have more insulin, or be more responsive to existing levels; not that HFCS can induce insulin which causes AD.

Comment I disagree mostly. (Score 1) 511

To start, I /am/ a scientist (PhD, molecular biology), and I've also taught. At the moment, I'm pure research, so I've been on multiple sides of this issue.

To really address the suggestion that I as a scientist isn't doing enough to educate the public is just an outright oversimplification of the issues involved.

As I see it, there are at least three major obstacles inherent in 'educating' the public about any particular scientific topic (molecular biology, computers, you name it)

1. Education: There's a lot of work involved in getting to know underlying concepts well enough to properly transfer ideas. I can talk about western blots, ELISAs, single-nucleotide polymorphisms and the effect of multiple genetic anomalies on various types of lung cancer as relates to smoking, but unless you understand why and how those things are important, any conclusions I give you, like 'an increase in these four or five SNPs statistically leads to a higher risk of lung cancer', you either have the choice of accepting what I say on faith, or ignoring it.

2. Apathy: If you don't know, do you want to learn? Most people who ask what I do want a nice easy answer, like "cancer research". They smile, say 'ooh, that must be hard' and go about their day. Any longer than a ten word answer, and I get the classic glazed-eyes look. You can't educate a populace that doesn't care.

3. Propaganda: This is related to 1 & 2, but is mostly a side-effect of 1. I recently got into a rather heated argument with someone over whether or not second-hand smoking is bad for you (yes, it is). Despite all the first-hand knowledge, research, and peer-reviewed data I could provide, the person in question chose to rely on biased politically-motivated think-tank reports and old, outdated, dis-proven studies funded by tobacco corporations instead of listening to my data and realistically weighing the available information. You can do all the outreach you want, but if the people don't want to pay attention, they won't.

Comment Re:Alas (Score 1) 206

That's fine if we're talking about parachuting. But what if we can't properly define the risks?

"Sure, this could maybe, possibly, probably not cure you. But it could also cause... well, we have no idea, because it's never been evaluated in humans. Half of our pigs gained the ability to shoot lasers from their eyes, and the other half turned into Rush Limbaugh."

Comment Re:I wonder... (Score 1) 206

You'll notice I said 'legitimate'. By definition, these practices are unethical (whether or not you like it, non-FDA approved treatments such as this would be considered criminally unethical in the US) and the people who do them are not practicing legitimate science, medical or otherwise.

This is sort of related to #2, in that properly educated people don't randomly 'decide' that the available evidence is wrong and start jabbing people with dangerous treatments. If they do, we're down to #3, because they obviously know what they're doing is wrong, but the financial benefit outweighs the risk.

You sound like someone who has no idea about how medicine or science (or hell, anything) actually works, considering that your reading comprehension is basically nil.

Comment Re:Removing freedom isn't a "positive development" (Score 1) 206

Except that you aren't circumventing 'big pharma', because the treatment doesn't work!

Seriously, if these quack factories were actually curing people, don't you think that someone would know about it?

Of course, statistically, if you inject enough people with this crap one of them will go into remission, and you've got a 'cure' in the same way that occasionally someone blessed by a preacher will be 'cured' by god.

Saying that people have the right to scam other people sounds great, until your grandmother signs up for FreeCreditReport.com using your credit card.

Comment Re:Alas (Score 1) 206

I don't mean this in a harsh way, but you have no idea how clinical trials work.

Saying something works in a dog, or a horse, or a pig, or a hamster is a thousand-fold difference from testing it in humans. We can test it on ten thousand mice and show no ill effects, but doing a proper multi-stage trial on humans can take years and years of testing, evaluation and follow-up.

Why? So we don't have any more thalidomide babies. And even then, the trials aren't perfect. Remember Vioxx? That's just one example.

There's a lot of good medicine coming around the corner in the next decade, but it's based on new and largely untried technologies. I'd love to save all the people who will die before it's available (or who will suffer pain, etc), but we can't rush it. The risks are too great.

Comment Re:Removing freedom isn't a "positive development" (Score 1, Insightful) 206

Well, hell -- by this logic, I should be able to build a nuclear reactor in my garage. Who cares? I can just sell power to the guy next door, even if the radiation cooks my neighbors.

After all, how do we know the 'experts' are right? I think all those Hiroshima photos are faked.

The point of experts is not that they're infallible, but that collectively they represent the best current 'state of the art' in a particular field. Sometimes, yes, they're wrong. But the judgements made to come to those collective conclusions are based on data, knowledge and experience that the average person does not (and cannot) have.

Who knows, maybe injecting a paraplegic with stem cells from a fetus will make them walk again. It might, someday. But right now it's stupid, dangerous, and foolhardy in the extreme. More importantly, it's a scam, and the government should be responsible for bringing those people to justice and stopping practices which masquerade as medical science when they clearly are not.

Get a clue, and stop trying to make everything an argument about how you should be allowed to be as stupid as you personally would like to be.

Slashdot Top Deals

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow